Knowledge is power!
Learned wielders of great magical powers, weavers of great and terrible spells, and generally overpowered. Wizards are one of the fantasy classics that’ ingrained into our culture, so long as magic captures our imagination and we can still keep coming up with incredible characters to use it, then wizards just won’t die (we’re looking at you Gandalf).
We have gathered for you the finest magic casters (you might call it a Magical Gathering) but there’s a rule! The best wizards in this list have learned and obtained their powers through study and practice, and less dependence on biology or innate power. This one stipulation may cause some shocking revelations, as you will discover as we make our way through the Top 10 Wizards.
10) Time Wizard – YuGiOh!
He’s got Wizard in the name, but we don’t know his mortality – other than the fact that he can take some damage and be killed. We also don’t know how learned he is. But he’s certainly got a lot of magical power. The Time Wizard is one of the most iconic cards from the Childrens Card Game, YuGiOh. If you’ve ever seen Joey Wheeler from the anime, then you’ll no doubt be familiar with this tricky time trickster.
The Time Wizard is literally a clock, which comes out and does some weird things with time. He can reverse time, or sent time forward but hundreds or thousands of years. So in terms of magical power, this little ticking time tinkerer is actually pretty strong. Unfortunately, due to a lack of lore about him, we can’t tell if this is a character that learned the ticks of his trade, or if he simply was born with them.
9) Doctor Strange – Marvel
Ok, we’re raising Strange because he has a film on the way, but his official title is the Sorcerer Supreme. Some concession of course because he did study for the role under the previous Sorcerer Supreme after a car accident damaged his hands, hindering his ability to perform brain surgery. Spoilers by the way…
Through his manipulation of magical forces he helps protect our realm from forces far darker than any other hero in the Marvel universe, demonic forces and magical entities that dwell in border dimensions. Interestingly the powers of the Sorcerer Supreme also draw on beings of ancient entities such as Cyttorak, which also makes him a Warlock, so credit where credit’s due, Stephen Strange really hits all the spell-casting classes at once.
8) Gandalf – Lord of the Rings
The first in our incredibly long line of shocks is Gandalf the Grey, or Gandalf the White. This grizzled old human is seemingly one of the most wise and powerful wizards on this entire list – So how on Earth, (or Middle-Earth,) did he end up so far down the list? With his massive beard and his staff… And all of that magic, how can he be so low? I mean he even refers to himself as a wizard.
Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is, a Wizard is primarily mortal. This is someone who is learned, someone who has had to study, without there being magical power within them. So with this in mind, it’s impossible for us to put Gandalf here… For he’s not mortal. He is in fact a Maiar Spirit, along with, yes you guessed it, Saruman. But instead of disregarding it fully, we respect sorcerers equally – But they’re not what we would call a wizard. Not when the true age of Gandalf is known. He was born before the shaping of Arda.
7) Dumbledore – Harry Potter
“Wait, hold on one minute here,” I hear you screaming at your monitors with an intense rage, “this ruling is a little bit ridiculous – Dumbledore is a human!” To this, I fully agree with all of you out there, Dumbledore is a very clear human, who was born a human and who died a human. Regardless of the non-confirmed fan-theories opinions of Dumbledore being a physical manifestation of Death, we’ll stick to the concept that Dumbledore is a wisened, learned wizard of human blood.
However… We’re going to have to point out, that much like Gandalf and our next entrant to this list, Dumbledore (indeed, Hogwarts as we know it,) might be a lie. For you see, a Wizard is a mortal who is learned. A man or woman who has learned their craft, through being taught. This means that if magical energies are latent within them, albeit needing training, they are actually a sorcerer. This is the definition of a Wizard to a Sorcerer – and Gandalf might be the greatest Sorcerer of all time. Don’t forget what the American’s named the first book: The Sorcerer’s Stone. I’m gutted, as I wanted Dumbledore to be our number one slot.
6) Merlin – Arthurian Legend
So if Gandalf and Dumbledore have now been, at least for our definition, proven to be sorcerers instead of wizards, how can Merlin be that much greater? The answer lies in the term “learned”. Merlin is possibly more learned than both of these men, which is why we have had so many shocking revelations throughout this list. Merlin was many things, to which they called him a wizard. He was an incredibly intelligent man.
But notice once again he’s only placed at number 6? What could possibly stop him this time? Unfortunately, lore strikes once again – as Merlin was born to a human lady and an incubus. Yes, his daddy whom passed incredible powers onto the most important wizard on this list bar-none, was an Incubus. Now that’s pretty gross – but to make it worse, it stops Merlin going one greater. Sword and the Stone? Sadly, it was another Sorcerer’s Stone!
5) Hoodies – Magicka
Now we’re beginning to move into the realm of real wizards – so we’re sorry it’s taken us this long to get here. The above are all considered to be wizardly. In fact, some of them literally bare the name wizard and one of them even conceals a whole school of sorcerers as wizards. However, the Hoodies of Magicka is an affectionate nickname we’re giving the main characters of the game, who are powerful wizards.
They’re completely mortal and due to how they’re presented to us, we’re able to surmise that these wizards learned it entirely through dedication and hard work. Sadly though, we don’t have that much evidence that they learned their craft, no matter how learned we believe they are… So we’re setting these powerful mortals to the middle of our list. Because finally, the magic is real guys. Also this game is pretty hard, go play it with some friends and watch your friendships disappear… Like magic!
4) Mustrum Ridcully – Discworld
We’d have loved to have included Rincewind here, but Rincewind only ever knew one spell, (albeit one of the great spells of creation,) and he was never all that senior. The closest he ever came to authority was as the Head of Cruel and Unusual Geography.
Now Mustrum Ridcully on the other hand, he’s the genuine article, Archchancellor of Unseen University, the one who brought the highest orders of wizardry to heal with a healthy diet and plenty of hygiene; a master of all things magical, except for the strange things those youngsters get up to in the High Energy Magic Buidling; he achieved the 7th level of Wizardry by the age of 27, and has no fewer than eleven qualifications of varying degrees. He is, in fact, Mustrum Ridcully D.Thau., D.M., D.S., D.Mn., D.G., D.D., D.C.L., D.M. Phil., D.M.S., D.C.M., D.W., B.El.L. and Archchancellor.
Ridcully has ended the long string of assassinations to snatch the top spot in the faculty, after the first attempt ended in the ambitious assassin being unceremoniously brutalised by very non-magical methods. He’s also so incredibly powerful, he’s done away with all that messy magic stuff; it’s unhygienic.
3) Mirdon – Doraleous and Associates
One of Doraleous’ oldest friends and closest allies, Mirdon the wizard is a multi-talented mage with a battery of spells at his disposal, powers that transform his comrades into wild beasts, spells that enhance his senses beyond mortal comprehension, spells that summon inconvenient avalanches of large rocks that kind of just get in the way, and make it difficult for enemies to carry on with what they were doing.
He’s also selfish, disrespectful, foul-mouthed, and actually surprisingly dim for a wizard. He’s a straight-up wizard, studied hard to obtain his power, and joined up with an adventuring party to try and help people. That’d be very honourable and respectable but… he’s just so unlikable! Now, we’re a respectable site, so I can’t really share exactly how horrible he is… suffice to say his most evil spell is one that gives you a permanent nose whistle that never goes away.
Check out the Machinima cartoon to fully understand what I’m getting at here… just don’t do so at work. Unless you’ve got a cool workplace that’s fine with that kind of thing.
2) Veigar, the Tiny Master of Evil – League of Legends
If you’ve been reading through this list so far, you may be surprised seeing all of the powerful people we assumed were wizards to be so low down. To then turn around and see a hero from League of Legends reaching all the way up to number 2, with no mention of Warcraft or otherwise in sight, it might feel like we’ve gone mad. But Veigar is a well thought out wizard, of non-human origin – Although still mortal.
Veigar was an ordinary boy, who wanted to learn more about the world beyond Bandle City. Being a Yordle, he doesn’t conjure many images of a grand and powerful wizard, but yet neither did the Gnomes of Warcraft. Veigar wanted to learn more and to really be a bit of a trader, so he studied hard. But a deal went wrong and off to jail did Veigar go. Now, jailing a Yordle is pretty dangerous, as is evident from Veigar, the Tiny Master of Evil. Instead of heading back to Bandle City, he ended up seeking out dark wizards to be trained in the ways of evil. Now a twisted little Yordle, this barely 1 meter tall hero, (or shall we say villain,) looks to bring conflict of all of Valoran to a stop… Mostly because he wants city states to bow before him. Ah well, can’t blame him for trying.
Whilst we could argue he’s a Warlock, there’s no evidence that he actually makes any kind of pact. Therefore, he’s a wizard until proven warlock… Because ultimately, all he did was study hard to be the Tiniest Master of Evil.
When we set out to write this list, we both agreed that Jace belonged on the list of wizards. Ultimately, he started as a humble human who aspired to be more, so he self-taught himself until he knew enough to assist where he was needed most. His magics got greater and greater, until one day, he became more than just a mortal. He became a Planeswalker, a powerful entity that can literally walk across different planes of time… But what does this mean exactly?
Taken directly from MTGSalvation, a Wikia dedicated to all that is Magic: the Gathering – “The defining trait of [planeswalkers] is the ability to travel between separate universes with ease, while the vast majority of people throughout the multiverse are not even aware that other worlds beside their own exist. Planeswalking is a form of magic. With enough time and mana, or with specialized spell knowledge, or with access to enormous power, it’s possible for a planeswalker to transfer clothing, artifacts and/or creatures with him as he planeswalks.”
Due to his studies and the fact that Jace started not as a Planeswalker, but became more due to all of his studies. To make matters more complicated though, it’s actually entirely unknown as to how long he studied. Still, time aside, all we know is, this might be the most learned man in any literature, game, film, anime or otherwise.
Given the harsh judgement we have imparted on a few favourites, our honourable mentions have really had to fight hard to get this place. Years of study, diligence to the craft and service to the realm have earned these entries, a Venerable Mention.
Wizards of the Coast
This one very nearly slipped by us. Wizards are the game studio who make some of the best traditional games on the market, most notably Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: the Gathering, a couple of our personal favourites, but there are a few others you may not be entirely aware of in their catalogue. Ever played Betrayal on the House on the Hill?
Founded in 1990, now a subsidiary of Hasbro, (damn you Hasbro and your Monopoly of traditional games,) Wizards of the Coast manage a wide variety of nerd classics and firm favourites. Sadly though, despite many a magical hour spent gathered around a table playing wizards and casting spells, WotC are drummed into the honourables list because they’re not actually magical and it’s all make-believe.
Tim the Enchanter – Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Tim the Enchanter is sadly bumped down to the honourables list for his brief appearance, most of which he spends slinging fire around for the sake of it, and for the applause. He seems possessed of prophetic abilities, knowing all about King Arthur and his quest for the Holy Grail before he even approaches.
Only one beast in all of christendom does the mighty Enchanter fear, and that fiend is no ordinary bunny rabbit. Played by Billy Connolly, the Big Yin may only show up for a few minutes in the classic tale of messing around in the British countryside, but it’s one of the best cameos in film history. Oddly the goat horns and robes suit him. [EDIT] Apparently I need to do my research more thoroughly, John Cleese plays the Enchanter.
This one might cause a bit of controversy, but we’re not afraid of that. Instead, we hope that you found our interpretation of a wizard to be a compelling, or even correct one to you. In the meantime, we’re going to ask you to vote on next week’s’ list, which can be one of the below. We’re going for a slightly less ambiguous term for our next list, so please do vote wisely, oh venerable one.
With a puff and a cloud of smoke, it looks like it’s time to wrap up another one of our Top 10 lists. But don’t despair, for we’ll be back again this time next week with yet another Top 10 list as chosen by you. Until then, why not get involved with this week’s list and tell us what you thought of it. Do you feel we were too harsh on some of the characters? Is Jace Beleren worthy of such praise? Do you feel the tiny master of evil was in the right position for this list? Will anyone believe Merlin’s lies after this trick?! As always, leave a comment below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
It’s Easter time! Therefore, it’s time to celebrate in the only ways we know how. With a Top 10 that’s very Easter themed – You could have chosen rabbits, or the more literal Easter Eggs, but no, you guys chose for our Top 10 list of Characters Who Came Back From The Dead. In some ways, I guess we should be thanking you for this one, as it’s not only topical, but it made us think.
Some of the characters in the list are incredibly well known, some of the entries may actually shock you. Don’t worry though, we’ve got the defibrillator at the ready to resuscitate any of you who may need bringing back during our list. But don’t worry: When there’s an end, there’s always the chance of rebirth. No Isaac from The Binding of Isaac fame, you’re not on this list.
#10 – GLaDOS – Portal
Aha, so you thought you killed off the AI of the Portal series in the first game, well think again you puny meatbag. GLaDOS makes a very dramatic exit at the end of the first game, where you are destroying the very cores that make her… Well her! GLaDOS is truly the reason the Portal series was able to continue, not Chell.
Coming in at number 10 only, because although it certainly was good to see her return from the “dead”, it was never truly confirmed that you killed her (even though it seemed like you had), plus the moment Portal 2 was announced, we all knew she’d be back. Plus, if nothing else, she gets a nudge onto the list for her beautiful singing voice. Ellen McLain, the voice of GLaDOS, is also a downright lovely individual who we had the pleasure of meeting and listening to at last years Kitacon Invasion.
#9 – Frieza – Dragonball Z
Frieza’s name was known all throughout the galaxy as the most fearsome warrior of all. He was able to level whole planets, barely using any effort at all. This intergalactic terrorist would incite fear upon those who gazed eyes on him, as well as having a rather flamboyant fighting force (Ginyu Force) at his disposal. Frieza seemed like he had it all, until he was cut into a million pieces, had parts of his body disintegrated and then left for dead on planet Namek. Talk about having a rough day.
But then, very shortly after the Frieza/Namek saga was over, we went back to Earth and lo and behold, Frieza returns! This time, he was on Earth! What ever could the world do– Oh, okay, a guy from the future comes along and in one slash with a sword manages to do what took Goku and friends what must have been eight episodes. Still, Frieza wasn’t finished there – Well he was, until very recently. Last year, in the film DragonBall Z: Resurrection ‘F’. This time, he seems to not be a robot, but golden! Now you’ve seen his true final form? Possibly?
#8 – Brian – Family Guy
This one was incredibly shocking and highly controversial. In fact, I’m not going to make and mistakes about it: I somewhat grew tired of Family Guy a while back. There’s only so much that you can take of what is effectively just constant running gags, which grow staler than a loaf of bread that you’ve left for only five minutes on a table in the Sahara Desert. I might be being rather descriptive of how stale some of the jokes can get, but there’s one thing this series did really well. It hit all of us right in the feels.
The very controversial episode of Brian’s death, aptly named Life of Brian, was actually somewhat hard to watch. The video above shows the clip of Brian’s death, so a small warning goes out to you – It’s a little bit brutal. The episode managed to handle the death of a main character really well. It didn’t resort to wacky humour about it, but instead, it felt as if the series was about to lose a sense of what it was – Same as how many of us feel whenever we lose someone or a pet that’s so near and dear to us. This episode stirred so many people, that a change.org petition was started and eventually Brian’s death was ret conned, proving the character was indeed loved and would have been sorely missed.
I wonder how Family Guy would look today if they kept the replacement dog..?
#7 – Jason Voorhees – Friday the Thirteenth
The films series that just won’t die features one of our all time favourite immortal nemeses, the masked slasher Jason Voorhees. While the film franchise has limped, sagged and very nearly collapsed under the burden of abuse from varying directors there’s an underlying character to the mighty butcher of rampant teens, generally lying under the surface of a lake, but he’s seen as something of a representation of puritanical oppression. Not a lot oppressing him though.
The source of his immortality has never truly been explained, mostly that a series of flukes, assorted magicks (with a “k”) and prolonged periods of time spent in suspended animation have all contributed heavily to his prolonged existence so that he may foreshorten that of others. Trips to Hell and outer-space can’t hold him back, not even failed titles, spinoffs, or lousy versus films can keep him from rebooting.
#6 – Spawn
It was either him or Ghost Rider, it’s always a tough call when you have two incredible characters who have been offered a deal from the devil, and while we can forgive Nicolas Cage for a rather… different interpretation, we still love Spawn just that little bit more.
Maybe it’s the vast array of powers, challenging Malebolgia himself to mortal combat, OH! and Mortal Kombat! Al Simmons is just a more awesome character, a grim silhouette in the stereotypical stormy night that casts every bit as much fear as the flaming skull of vengeance, who also got a legendary cartoon series to boot. But what about his return from death? If you read his entry in the Top 10 Unfortunate Heroes you’ll know it’s not a happy tale, it’s a hellish contract born of a need for revenge, and to save the life of the one he loves, but it slowly becomes a mission, a duty to the forces of light born on the shoulders of a very dark soldier.
#5 – Harry Potter
In a tale of epic struggle against what is effectively overcoming the unspeakable ultimate evil, Harry Potter makes it onto our list as a surprising entrant. After all, he manages to defeat Voldemort*, doesn’t he? So how can it be that The Boy Who Lived who ended up being The Boy Who Died Then Came Back To Life Again Or Something? Well, it’s all down to the details in this one, but Harry does indeed die.
He is a Horcrux, one that Voldemort himself accidentally created. The irony was that Harry had to kill himself in order to destroy one of the Horcruxes. Hey, everything in this series was entwined in some way, even the Golden Snitch that Harry was given by Dumbledore makes a very important appearance during this part. When Harry dies however, a lot of the story really comes together here. The Horcruxes are falling very quickly at this point and of course, time to go and defeat Voldemort once and for all.
*Or y’know, Neville Longbottom, the series whipping boy, is the one who ends up beheading the snake in a rather amazing scene in the films, but whatever!
#4 – Solomon Grundy – Batman
Born on a Monday
Lives for a week, a tale of tragedy that takes us a total of seven days and – in the case of Cyrus Gold – ultimately ends in reincarnation. You see, the immortal Grundy from the DC universe is an ancient and wealthy banker from days of yore whose carriage sinks into a peat-bog that supposedly contained one of DC’s infamous retcon devices, a Lazarus pit. The rejuvenating properties infuse Grundy, leaving him incapable of permanent death, or even coherent thought.
The pits are known to damage the mind and soul of those they help, whilst making the body incredibly powerful. To someone with the self-discipline or narrative importance of Ra’s Al Ghul the effects can be mitigated with rigorous self control and suitable sacrifice. For Solomon Grundy, it leaves a mindless giant capable of crushing a man with a shrug. Batman actually enjoys Grundy for the chance to cut-loose and get to some real damage dealing, despite the fact that the giant is reborn far larger and stronger than before.
He does rather lack some of the guile of Batman’s better villains, being incapable of articulating much more than the one rhyme that was skipping through his head as he suffocated to death in the mystic swamps.
#3 – Barbossa – Pirates of the Caribbean
Although some credit must go to Captain Jack Sparrow for being dragged back from the locker against his somewhat shattered will, someone had to step up who knew how to get to the other side. And as it happens Jack recently killed someone who’s as good as he is at not staying dead for long.
It took a large crew and a whole lot of persuading to get Sparrow back from death, Barbossa made one sweet deal and came striding back to enjoy some juicy apples and revenge… juicy, juicy revenge. During his captaincy of the Black Pearl he got dangerously close to death before Sparrow and Turner finished the job, but as it turns out Tia Dalma/Calypso has a soft spot for the old sea dog.
More and more we’re seeing film series leave us with cliffhangers to drag us back to the cinema, but in this incredibly short scene there was more excitement drummed up for the third instalment of the trilogy than in any other series – at least that I’ve ever seen. Who knew a pair of boots would be such a welcome sight?
#2 – Gandalf – Lord of the Rings
YOU SHALL NOT PASS!
Well, I guess Gandalf the Grey was right – The Balrog certainly didn’t get to pass Gandalf and his temper tantrum of turmoil. It ends up that Gandalf shouting those immortal words would also be Gandalf the Grey’s last. The whip reaches up, lashes around the leg of Gandalf and pulls him down… Well okay, it wasn’t his last, as he manages to call everyone fools because they aren’t flying. I mean for crying out loud, Hobbitses can’t even fly, Gandalf, you senile old guy.
Ahem, I digress. Later in the film, Gandalf makes a very lovely re-appearance, as Gandalf the White. Apparently, when this wizard dies, he manages to fall into a vat of Vanish Stain Removal. Enough joking though, Gandalf’s death was not in vain – He comes back way better than ever before and it’s one of the franchise’s most iconic moments.
#1 – Kenny – South Park
Are you really surprised? Seriously?
Kenny infamously dies once an episode in early seasons of the world’s most even-handedly offensive cartoon series, it became the most widely known running gag in a series for a decade, and had a generation learning how to swear loudly in the face of death. They attempted to kill Kenny off permanently in an attempt to kill a joke they’d grown sick of, before demurely bringing him back in the same off-hand fashion they’d been doing for years.
As time progresses we learn that in fact Kenny’s parents conducted some strange ritual with elder beings to cause him to be reincarnated constantly, a superpower he uses to become the cloaked immortal hero Mysterion. In fact one of the most harrowing episodes of South Park was the episode in which we learn of how alarmingly aware of his immortality Kenny is, holding a gun to his head and screaming “Remember this time! You have to remember!”, but no one ever does, no one can mourn a child who never dies.
Everything comes to an end, but not the characters in our Top 10 list! Well some of them kind of do, but they don’t all simply end there. But the below extra characters are also known for their ability to just come back from the dead. At least they’ve got a chance to redeem themselves in our Honourable Mentions list!
Depending on the version of Dracula that you look into, this vampire seems to just never stop dying and coming back to life. Interestingly, the state of how vampires sleep in the story of Dracula is known as “Death-Sleep”, as the vampires appear to be dead with their eyes wide open during their slumber, so if we take that into account as well, then hey, Dracula dies every damn night. But that’s not exactly true now is it?
I mean if we look at the Castlevania series, the amount of times Dracula has legitimately been killed is quite staggering – Yet he always manages to come back for some rather unspecific reason. “Oh we resurrected him”, “oh we’ve got to kill him again.” Who knows why he thinks it’s a good idea to keep fighting the Belmonts, but hey, Dracula has to have something to do in his unlife, right? I guess having a hobby is good enough in his world.
Player Character – Video Games
I had the most terrible dream, I was plummeting to my death, nothing but darkness and my own echoing screams, and then suddenly I was assaulted by descending numbers. I don’t think they reached zero because I woke up somewhere near where it all took place. I’m almost reluctant to try and make the leap again… but the world will not save itself, and I don’t see anyone else around here who isn’t trying to kill me.
From the Hyperion New-U stations in Borderlands to the wave of bloody carnage that ends every successful run in Super Meat Boy, we’ve grown all too accustomed to the ability to just get up and try again. Perhaps the return of the roguelike owes itself to our newfound nonchalance in the face of death, because it can be hard to make death something to be feared, while at the same time allowing the player to get straight back into the fray without the tedium of starting from scratch.
From an allotted maximum number of lives, to money and experience penalties, defeat is not without its sting, but that doesn’t make it any less funny when your character dies and walks it off.
Oh we slayed this list! But lo and behold, when one goes down, it simply comes back within a week’s time much like Solomon Grundy. But now it’s time for you to decide what our list will be returning as next week. It’s time for you to help us pick next week’s iteration of our Top 10 list.
As always, thanks for reading our list. We love writing these and as they are still thoroughly well received, we’ll keep doing these until you guys say “stop with the Top 10 lists!” Let us know what you thought – Are these characters deserving of this list? Do you think we’ve missed any characters that deserve a special mention? Would you have reordered this list in any way? Please leave your comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter. Thanks for always being excellent!